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The town of Hoedspruit was once the subject of a disputed border between the Portuguese colonists of Mozambique and the Government of the South African region known as Transvaal. Happily, Hoedspruit remains entrenched in South Africa and is today one of the gateway towns into the Kruger National Park.
Hoedspruit is synonymous with the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and a large air force base stationed here. Visitors into the Kruger National Park generally stop off in Hoedspruit to tour the centre.
To reach Hoedspruit by road is to travel the scenic R532 from Nelspruit – the capital of the Mpumalanga Province – past the awe inspiring Three Rondavels rock formations, over the spectacular Mariepskop Pass and via the peaceful Blyde Dam. Hoedspruit has its own airport for those with limited time.
The weather in Hoedspruit is warm almost year round, a perfect launch pad from which to enjoy the area’s many outdoor activities.
Top 6 reasons to visit Hoedspruit
1. Spend a day or more travelling in the Kruger National Park to capture an unusual wildlife encounter that could possibly be the next Youtube sensation. Kruger has thousands of animals in the park including the Big 5 (leopard, lion, buffalo, elephant and rhino),
2. The sterling conservation work carried out at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre to ensure the continuation of some of the world’s most endangered species is very apparent and a visit is sure to leave you encouraged and emotionally uplifted.
3. The best way to truly appreciate your surroundings and to see animals from a new perspective is via a hot air balloon. Several operators are in the area, ask your host to arrange.
4. Visit the Nyani Cultural Village to gain an understanding of the local culture. The Roots of Rhythm show highlights the traditional song and dance of 7 local tribes that keep guests totally enthralled. Join in on a drumming session while there.
5. A trip to meet the world’s most famous hippo, Jessica, is essential. This gentle beast was saved from a near drowning by a local resident and she is now a movie star with all sorts of animal friends and who once allowed a young boy to brush her teeth.
6. Stop in for an unusual shopping experience at the Kamogelo Tourism Centre. Clothing boutiques boasting African fashions, art galleries, restaurants and other stores are reached along leafy boardwalks.
Hoedspruit has its own airport, Eastgate Airport, for flights arriving from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Another airport nearby is the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, 140km from Hoedspruit. There is a car rental agency located at the Hoedspruit airport and several in Nelspruit (Mbombela), otherwise order a vehicle online. Shuttle operators and metered taxis offer transport between Hoedspruit and other towns.
Did you know?
South Africa’s uber luxury train service, the Blue Train, now operates to Hoedspruit. This route was established to meet the demand for a tour of the Kruger National Park, however, the service runs infrequently, check with your host regarding booking dates.
The Hoedspruit Airport has the 2nd longest landing strip in the country and at one time, NASA considered using this airport for the landing of the shuttle.